Month: April 2014

Link: BASIC programming with Gambas for the beginner programmer

Scratch is a great tool for teaching programming to young children, but what happens when kids outgrow Scratch? Among Raspberry Pi aficionados, the typical answer is to advance to using Python, which is an excellent choice. However, in honor of the 50th birthday of BASIC, I would like to suggest another programming environment: Gambas.

We would just add that BASIC is an underrated and under-appreciated programming language, that often can be easily understood and utilized by people who just don’t seem to “get” regular programming languages. Also, if you just need a small program to do some specific task, in many cases it is much faster and easier to code it in BASIC than in any other language. One of the strengths of BASIC is that the keywords are more mnemonic, therefore it is a better choice for people who have poor memories, and who therefore spend more time looking up the syntax of statements in other languages than doing actual programming.

Some “purists” object to BASIC for various reasons (usually spouting some nonsense about how it encourages bad coding habits, or some similarly nebulous objection) but we think the real truth of the matter is that they have done everything they can to try to bury a language that is so easy to use that almost anyone can program in it. If you are a “professional” programmer, or a teacher of computer programming, you don’t want to make it too easy for the hoi polloi to write programs, because if they can, your services might not be needed anymore!

So if you don’t already have a preferred programming language, and you’re not seeking employment as a professional programmer (or just want to get your feet wet in programming), and you’re running Linux or BSD, give Gambas a try – you might like it!

Full article here:
BASIC programming with Gambas for the beginner programmer (
Raspberry Pi users, also see this thread:
GAMBAS(basic) (Raspberry Pi)

Link: BASIC is 50

So today (30th April, 2014)  marks the 50th anniversary of the BASIC programming language! Hurrah!


To help celebrate this, I’ve made a new release of my RTB – Return To BASIC interpreter for the Raspberry Pi. RTB started life about 2.5 years ago – even before the Raspberry Pi hardware was on-sale. I wasn’t initially thinking about the Pi, just Linux in-general, but since the release of the Pi, it has gained a small and growing userbase.

Full article here:
BASIC is 50 (Gordons Projects)
Celebrating BASIC at 50 (Kresge Physical Sciences Library)

Link: Adjust The Notification Center Banner Time in OS X Mavericks

I came across a rather interesting post today on the various newsgroups on the web, it was a discussion in changing the length of time in which a notification banner persists within the left hand side of the screen. These are the ones that appear when your get a new mail message, iTunes track, or a variety of other messages. With a nifty terminal trick you can change the length of time in which this message is displayed.

Full article here:
Adjust The Notification Centre Banner Time (
Best OS X Mavericks tips and tricks (TrustedReviews)

Link: How to Do IP Address Geolocation Lookups on Linux

You have probably noticed different services on the Internet which automatically know roughly where you are in the world. From music and video stream services to online stores, these services use a technique, called IP geolocation, which matches your approximate physical location with the IP address you are using. Whenever you connect to the Internet, your device is assigned an IP address from a pool of addresses which are allocated to the different telecommunication companies. The way these addresses work can be quite complicated, but because they are assigned in blocks, it is possible to build a database which maps a block of addresses to a country or even a particular area or city.

The good news is that doing these geolocation lookups isn’t only for the big corporate and mega websites. There are a number of free online services and even a command line tool for Linux which allows you to lookup IP addresses and get information about where that address is assigned. This can be very useful when you are investigating a suspicious email or strange comments left on a blog. It is also useful when using services that mask your IP address, like a VPN, to ensure that they are working as advertised.

Full article here:
How to Do IP Address Geolocation Lookups on Linux (Make Tech Easier)

Link: How to turn the new Firefox 29 into the old Firefox

Firefox 29 will introduce changes to the web browser that will rock the world of some users of the browser. The version of Firefox ships with Australis, a design, layout and feature change that introduces major changes to Firefox and is in my opinion comparable to the major switch from Firefox 3 to 4.


Good news is that you can modify the browser to your liking or restore the interface so that it looks similar to the one you used to work with. Bad news is that you have to rely on third-party authors to do so.

Full article here:
How to turn the new Firefox 29 into the old Firefox (gHacks Technology News)
How to restore Firefox’s classic theme after the Australis interface update (gHacks Technology News)

Link: Schedule Your Jobs in Linux With CRON

Most of the Linux users are aware of how commands are run, processes are manipulated and scripts are executed in terminal. But, if you are a Linux system administrator, you might want them to start and execute automatically in the background. As an example, you might consider running a backup job every day, at a specific time, automatically. Or you might consider an example of collecting inventory data of the systems deployed across your network, by running a script automatically on monthly basis. But, how to schedule these jobs and execute them automatically in Linux?

There is an utility in Linux known as CRON with which you can start your jobs automatically at a desired time and schedule them to get executed periodically.

Full article here:
Schedule Your Jobs in Linux With CRON (Your Own Linux..!)
Crontab and cron job (G. Garron)
How to Schedule Routine Tasks with Cron and Anacron on a VPS (DigitalOcean)
Run java application as CRON job in Linux (Preet Prasannan)
Advanced Job Scheduling With Cron (OStatic)
MTE Explains: How CRON Can Automate Your Tasks And Make Your Life Easier (Make Tech Easier)
How to Schedule Routine Tasks with Cron and Anacron on a Linux Server (DigitalOcean)

Link: Useful FFmpeg Commands

FFmpeg is an extremely powerful and versatile command line tool for converting audio and video files. It is free and available for Windows, Mac and Linux machines. Whether you want to join two video files, extract the audio component from a video file, convert your video into an animated GIF, FFmpeg can do it all and even more.

Full article here:
Useful FFmpeg Commands (Digital Inspiration)
Related: OS X installers (second line below contains link to newer version at this writing):
Run ffmpeg On Mac Without Compiling Anything ( (UPDATE to this article)
FFmpeg installer for OS X (Rudix)

Link: Managing the Exif Data on Your Photos From the Command Line [Linux]

ImageMagick is a suite of tools for Linux which allows you to manipulate images from the command line. The “convert” command allows you to perform image conversions and image transformations; however, there are several other tools included in the suite, some of which allow you to work with the Exif data in JPEG photos.

Full article here:
Managing the Exif Data on Your Photos From the Command Line [Linux] (Make Tech Easier)

Security alert for users of the FreePBX Distro

We do not normally provide security alerts but since we have several articles on this site dealing with tweaks to Asterisk and FreePBX, we thought we would just pass this along. If you are a FreePBX Distro user, go read this thread and this security notice now. You should particularly do this if you are noticing high CPU usage.

The problem is that there is an exploit in the FreePBX Distro caused by a piece of software that turns itself on when installed. Some users want it, but many have never heard of it and don’t use it, so it should be turned off by default. One side effect of this software is that it has given attackers a way to install and run bitcoin mining software on affected PBX’s, which can degrade performance and increase power consumption. It’s a simple fix to keep this from happening, so do it now!

Link: Get hardware information on Linux with lshw command

Lshw is a nifty small command line utility that generates detailed reports about various hardware components on the system. It does so by reading different files in the /proc directory.

Lshw is capable of reporting memory configuration, firmware version, mainboard configuration, CPU version and speed, cache configuration, bus speed etc.


Lshw also comes with a gui frontend called lshw-gtk that reports the same information in a minimal graphical user interface. Here is a screenshot.

NOTE: Some Linux distributions may already have a tool similar to this, that is installed during the initial installation of the operating system.

Full article here:
Get hardware information on Linux with lshw command (BinaryTides)
Basic troubleshooting commands in linux (Webkul)
2 GUI tools to check hardware information in Linux (Linux and Life)

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